We have just had out first incubator brood hatch. WOW! It is something else to actually be able to see every stage of hatching. We set 19 eggs, a mix of pure Cuckoo Marans and Cuckoo Marans daddy & Silver Dorking mommy. Of those that hatched 7 of the cross made it and only 5 of the purebreed.
This is them on their first night in the brooder. They are in this bread crate initially, until they can feed and water and are (a little!) less inclined to eat the pine shaving bedding! Tomorrow I’ll take them out and give them freedom of the full brooder which Jon cleverly knocked up cutting a sheet of steel in half and riveting it back together to form a large ring. The beauty of a steel ring is that rats are unable to scale the walls and there is nothing tastier to a rat than a freshly hatched chook.
In nature they would be snuggled up under their mum to keep nice and warm so we are using an infra red heat lamp with a 250w bulb in to replicate this heat. They will be under the lamp for the next 5 weeks, or until a hen (or duck!) goes broody and she will take them on.
There will be a little competition in my next post, so watch this space…